Nonprofits may be unaware of cost-saving options regarding SUI tax obligations

December 9, 2013

Nonprofits may be unaware of cost-saving options regarding SUI tax obligations

First-time jobless claims fell by about 23,000 for the week ending Nov. 30, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. However, the largest increases in initial claims by state  for the prior week – the most recent data available – were in California. The state continues to be plagued by unemployment claims and the situation provides an ominous outlook for state unemployment insurance (SUI) systems.

Even for companies that are seeing jobless claims level out, the cost of unemployment insurance (UI) is still on the rise in many states. Employers pay UI tax to both federal and state governments to cover claims.

While unemployment is improving in some areas, state unemployment offices are still reeling from the setbacks that occurred during the Great Recession. State employers are experiencing cuts to federal unemployment tax credits, causing an increase in the cost per employee for federal UI taxes. 

Federal unemployment insurance tax credits will continue to go down in states where there are large outstanding loans to the federal government. In California, the debt is so high that it could still exist when the next recession hits, creating a very volatile funding situation.

To avoid increasing costs, nonprofits should exit SUI tax pools
While SUI tax rates do not increase under federal mandates, the struggling systems still require more money to operate and meet jobless claims. While nonprofits do not pay federal unemployment insurance taxes, they do have an obligation to state UI tax pools. State unemployment offices often overpay claims and employers in the systems are sometimes paying for the costs of other companies.

Nonprofits and government agencies have the unique option to exit state unemployment tax pools and become reimbursing employers. This allows them to reimburse the state only for actual UI claims paid out. If a reimbursing employer has no UI claims filed in a year, then they would owe nothing. However, if there is an unexpected increase they could owe more than an organization in a SUI pool if they have not examined all of their options for meeting the SUI tax obligation.

To fully understand all the options, risks and rewards surrounding the decision to self-reimburse, organizations should contact a nonprofit UI expert. Nonprofit consulting groups can help determine the safest and most cost-effective model for meeting their SUI tax obligation.

For information on how your organization can cost-effectively meet its unemployment insurance needs, contact First Nonprofit Companies at or visit


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We first started using First Nonprofit’s Unemployment Savings Program when we were a small startup nonprofit.  We didn’t have an HR department and needed expertise in the event that an unemployment claim was made.  We knew we were eligible to be a reimbursing employer, but weren’t sure how to navigate that process.  They made it easy to set things up, plan for, and then manage claims when they came at a very reasonable cost. The amount of time and stress they’ve saved us dealing with all this has been worth way more than the cost.  We’ve now grown to a large nonprofit and do have an HR department but have no plans to stop using their services.  I highly recommend them to every nonprofit I come into contact with!


Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios.

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Luckily for us, our interactions regarding any issues with staffing has been very minimal! I can say that all other interactions with regards to billing, 941 reporting, etc. have been extremely pleasant, accommodating and easy to work with. Kim Ghanayem is always prompt, professional and friendly. Thank you so much!

Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ

First Nonprofit has been easy to work with and makes the administrative process easier and smoother. We enjoy working with you.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY